« ZurückWeiter »
Paradox tract, in Schroon and Moriah, ... 1,098
Tract in the county of Greene, .... 3,383
Scroon tract E. of Scroon Lake, .... 6,768
Brant Lake tract, S. of Scroon tract, - - - 18,432
Westfield tract in Washington county, ... 1,564
South Bay tract, do. .... 5.063
North-west Bay tract, W. of Lake George, ... 2,845
French Mountain tract, E. of do. ... l,30ti
Cincinnatus military tract, .... 85
Township of Benson, - - - - 35,457
Iron Ore tract, partly in Eli zahethtown, ... 27,854
Peru Bay tract, on Lake Champlain, .... 20,573
Split Rock tract, do. - - - - 2,719
Tremhlean tract, do. opposite Schuyler's island, - 2,880
Fort Ann tract, ...... 2,888
Additional in the town of Fort Ann, .... tt05
Saddle Mountain tract, near the head of South Bay, - - 417
Part of To. No. 12, old military tract, - - - 39,146
Do. No. 1 and 2, do. .... 35,438
South of Ticonderoga, - - - - - 319
Luzerne tract, N. W. of Fort George, - - - 168
South of Oneida Castle, ..... 428
Fiah Creek reservation, ..... 5,845
North tier of Massachusetts, ten townships, ... 5,082
Military tract, in scattered parts, ahout ... 2,000 Stirling township, chiefly fragments of lots, out of which grants have heen made, pursuant to acts from lime to time passed hy
the legislature, ...... 7,06?
On the west side of Lake George, N. of North-west Bay, - 7,464
On the E. side of Hudson's River, N. of Jessup's. 7,550 acre patent, 4,253
East side of Lake George, south of Wormer's Bay, - •s 465
West of Skeeneshorough and north of Artillery patent, - 3,670
In Essex county, N. of No. 3, of P. Rogers's patents, - 7,850
Part of To. No. 1, old military tract, ... 8,784
South of do. - - - - - 1,814
Part of To. No. 2, do. - - - -. 35,673
To. No. 9 and 10, do. 128,000
Part of To. No. 11, do. 8,960
ln Totten and Crossfield's purehase, ahout ... 200,000
S. W. of Totten and Crossfield's purehase, ahout - - 230,000
Total, acres, 1,019,107 "The islands in the Niagara river, and Carleton island, and the isle on Long Sanlt in the river St. Lawrence, not having heen surveyed, nor any means of ascertaining their contents ohtained, are not comprised in the estimate. Also, the lands reserved for village lots and their accommodation at Oswego, Black Rock, Lewiston, and the Oneida Castle, and the Stedman farm on the Niagara river.' Besides which, there is a gore left hetween the old military tract and the tract granted to the Canadian and Nova-Scotia refugees, to supply deficiencies, and also a gore along the Pennsylvania line, left for a similar purpose. It is yet uncertain what will remain after the purposes for which they are loft, shall he answered. It will, however, not he considerahle."
Some of the ahove lands have heen sold since the date of the surveyor-general's report, and other lands have reverted to the state. The comptroller, in his last annual report to the legislature, stated the amount remaining unsold at 970,000 acres, and it is ahout the same at present. To make an exact account of the unsold land in each tract, would require considerahle time and lahour, and would, perhaps, he of very little more use than the one now presented, wnich. it is hoped, will he sufficient for the purposes of the committee.
With inspect to the value of the unsold lands, it is helieved, that hy far the greatest part of them are not worth more than from twenty-five to fifty cents an acre. They are mostly in the northern parts of the state, in the counties.of Essex, Warren, and the eastern part of Montgomery, heing mountainous, rocky, and harren.
Besides the ahove mentioned lands, there was purehased, ahout fours years since, a tract from the St. Regis Indians, of which there remains unsold ahout 6100 acres, valued, hy the surveyor general, at six dollars per acre, amounting to 38,400 dollars. This value was estimated in 1817.
It is proper also to state, that the Oneida Indians still retain ahout - - - - - - 15,000 acres.
And the Onondagas ..... 300
Which the surveyor general, in the same year, valued at 10 dollars per acre, making £23,000 dollars. These lands may hereafter come into the possession of the state. (See note at the end of this statement.)
There is also the Onondaga Salt Springs reservation owned hy the statei which the late comptroller supposed to he worth 300,000 dollars, appropriated to the canal. See act of 30th Mareh, 1820, chap. 117.
Exclusive of all the ahove, the state owns the following lands, which are appropriated for particular purposes, viz.
For the literature fund, ahout .... 3,500 acres.
For the support of the Gospel and schools, a numher of lots, quantity unknown.
For the Common School fund, all the lands in the military tract, which may escheat to the state. The quantity recovered within two or three years past is 25 or 30,000 acres, and will continue to increase.
Lands, given hy the Holland Company, Mr. Hornhy, Mr. Granger, to the state, for making the canal. Value unknown. Iu the county of Cattarangus, there are - 100,632 aqres.
Stenhen county ...... 4,000
The proceeds of Grand Island, in the Niagara river, are also appropriated hylaw to the canal fund.
Comptroller's Office, ) Septemher 15, 1821. j After the preceding statement wxs made out, it was revised hy the surveyor general, who added the following note:—
In the plan of Clack Rock village there are remaining unsold lots to the Amount of - - - - - - 604 acres.
In Lewiston ...... 327
Stedman's farm - - - - - - 511
Fort Niagara ...... 716
Amount on Niagara river, except islands , In the Oswego villages hetween 600 and 700 acres.
In the St. Regis reservation there remains yet helonging to the Indians ahout 16.000 acres, hesides the 040 acres or mile square, on Grass River.
The motion was further opposed hy Messrs. Sutherland, MsCall and Russell, and supported hy the mover and carried.
Mr. Kim; moved further to insert after the words "hy the state," the following—"except such part thereof as may he reserved or appropriated to the puhlic use, or ceded to the United States." Carried.
Gey. J. R. V\t Rensselaer moved further to add the following provision;
"It shall he the duty of the legislature annually to apportion, and add to the fund denominated the school fund, at least the sum of thirty thousand dollars, until the said fund shall in the whole amount to the sum of 85,000,000; and the interest on the whole fund shall he annually distrihuted and applied to the support of common schooW,"
Col. Young opposed the motion. It was neither more nor less than Snaks ed proposition to lay direct taxes for the purpose of increasing the school fund;
Gen. Van Rensselaer replied, when the question was put and lost.
The first part of the section as amended, relative to the school fund, was the* carried in the affirmative, without a division.
On the residue of the section relative to the canal fund.
Mr. Russell moved to amend so much thereof as relates to the duties on salt, and the tolls on the canal, hy suhstituting therefor the following:
« That the tolls on the navigahle communications hetween the great western and northern lakes and the Atlantic ocean; and the duties on the manufacture of «alt within the state, as may he estahlished hy the legislature, shall he inviolahly appropriated and applied to the payment of the interest and reimhursement of the capital of the money already horrowed, or which hereafter shall he horrowed to make and complete the navigahle communications aforesaid, and for no other purpose whatever/'
M*i Kmg remapkod, that the duties and tolls were pledged hy the legislature as the representatives of tlic people, and he thought the Convention wore hound to sanction that pledge. No additional assurance is required. It is only to confirm what has heen already promised. The faith of the country haa gone forth, and those who are intrusted with the puhlic honour, cannot recall without redeeming it. The western part of the state was douhtless destined to he the most populous part of it. They will furnish a majority in the legislature. He alluded to that part of the state, and the memhers ofit, with great deference and respect. BHt the history and condition of mankind have shown, that when men are impelled-hy interest, and possess the power of relicving themselves from a hurthen, they are extremely apt to lighten it off from their own shoulders. He would merely allude to a state of things that might hereafter exist. And were the state of things reversed, it would* in his opinion, he perfectly proper that the South should then he put under honds. What isamortgage, a common instrument, hut a pledge for good hehaviour? Mr. K. said he was not wanting in respect or affection for his western hrethren, hut in fidelity to the common interest of the state, the committee could not do less than recommend such a provision. There was no intimacy that could forhid such a proposition, even among hrothers. The state derived great honour from the magnificence of this work. And do we not expect to receive great advantage from it? Whyi then, should we he averse to confirming a pledge that was made in good faith.s The pledge is mutual. It is a pledge on our part also that the work shall go on, and kliet future funds shall he created to ensure its completion. The different parts of tho state were hound up in one society, and connected hy the strongest sympathies of interest and feeling.
Mr. Russell said that the requiring a pledge of this kind to he incorporated in the constitution, could not he regarded in any other way than as to express a distrust of the integrity of the people of the westorn part of the state; and he must therefore resist it i He was confident that there was no good reason for this jealousy; the people of the west would have no disposition to violate the faith which had heen pledged.
Mr. Nelson. From the report of the committee, and the explanation given hy the honourahle chairmani it would appear that the duty on salt in the western district is not only to he inviolahly appropriated to the payment of tho interest and redemption of the principal of the canal deht, hut that the amount of that duty is to he fixed in the constitution. Wo are told, that it was pledged hy the act of 1811, and that we ought to renew it in the Convention. When that law was passed, and the pledge given, a Convention was not expected; why then should wo engraft it in the constitution? Let us leave it as we find i»
By trie act of 1817 the duty on all sales at anction, with the exceptions then mentioned, were pledged in conjunction with the salt duty. Why have not the con inittee fixed in the constitution-tho amount of those duties, so as to prevent legislative discretion hereafter on that suhject?
In the same act also a tax of one dollar per passenger for every 100 miles, •as laid on steam boat possengers, and pledged for the same purpose in conjunction with the salt duty, and that upon auctions. Why is not that tax perpetuated by constitutional provision? All these funds were raised by the same Act, and pledged for the same purpose—and why make any distinction between •them, if there must be a constitutional provision?
Mr. Nelson was not unwilling that the revenues which government may see fit to collect from the salt on the canal, should be inviolably appropriated to the extinguishment of the canal debt. They have been so pledged by the act of 1817, but the amount of that tax or tell ought to be left to legislative regulation. The distribution of the burthens of government is a subject of legislation, Dot for the Convention. It is the business of the persons administering the government to devise ways and means far meeting its expenses, or raising money to carry on public improvement. The amount of the duty on salt is not a subject of complaint among those whom it is supposed most immediately to effect. It is not that they desire to get rid of the payment of the duty, that I object to its being fixed in the constitution: but, sir, the affairs of this state may change with the times, and the interest of the people may require that this duty should be abolished or reduced; if those times should arrive the legislature ought not to be prevented by constitutional prohibition.
Suppose, sir, the revenue derived from the canal tolls should be so great that, in a few years, that alone would redeem the canal debt, might it not be wise in the legislature to reduce the revenue realized from the salt, and leave the discharge of that debt to the tolls?
Or, suppose the legislature should believe the interest of the community required that a part of the duty imposed upon salt should be taken off, and laid upon some other subject of taxation, ought they not to have the power of doing M> - By fixing the amount of the salt tax, you deprive the western part of this state of the benefit of legislative experience and discretion on this subject. The tax imposed on steam boat passengers has been modified by a subsequent legislature, so may be the duties on salt, or any other pledge given by act.
Mr. Nelson said, it looked like an unreasonable jealousy of one part of the •tate toward the other, or of those who are to come after us. Gentlemen •from the west might as well indulge in squeamish jealousies of the south or north, and for fear they might hereafter impose an enormous tax upon our western salt, ask this Convention to fix it in the constitution, that no legislature should raise the tax above one shilling per bushel. If they will not trust the west in the legislature, lest .they might be disposed to reduce the tax, the west should not trust the south and the north, lest they may raise it.
Bnt it is unreasonable and unjust that the Convention should legislate for posterity, or for any particular portion of this state. The subjects, of taxation ought iii his opinion, to be left to the discretion of future legislatures, whose •Jignitv and honour would never permit them to act contrary to public faith or public good. Unfounded jealousies never ought to be indulged, and he never could consent to vote for a clause in the constitutioa avowedly based upon a want of confidence of one section of this state in the ether.
Col. You-vo was very sorry that gentlemen in different parts of the state fcbould regard this as a local question, lie thought it was a subject in which •all sections were equally interested. In relation to the salt duty he would observe, that within three yetrs the people of the east would consume the western salt, an-1 when the New-York market will be entirely supplied with salt from the western salt-works; it was now sold at Ulica for two shillings per bushel, including the duty of twelve and an half cents. When the communication with the North River should be completed, this salt might be brought to the city of \ew-York, and sold there for less than half the sum now paid for salt in that market; and the whole state would then consume no other salt but this, and every man who purchased a bushel of it, would pay one shilling towards the ca. nal fund; In the west, the people had already reaped great advantage from the • tui:il. Notwithstanding the duty of twelve and an half cents per bushel, the western people now paid no raoreibr the salt than they did before the Uut/ was imposed*
The toll which the commissioners had estahlished, was extremely small; not exceeding one cent per ton, and on salt ahout half a cent. To carry a ton from Alhany to Buffalo, hy land, tic said, cost from ninety to one hundred dollars. When the canal was completed it would he carried for ahout seven dollars. It did, therefore, appear to him, that there ought to he no ohjection to thts provision from any quarter.
Mr. Eastwood said they had no ohjection to the price of the duty which was now put on salt, hut they were not willing it should he put into the constitution. If the amendments were separately presented to the people, he had not much fear ahout it: hut the people of the western counties wonld he up in arms ahout it. if the constitution should he made anew, so as to require a single vote upon the whole or none.
Gen. Root ohserved, that he had rather have no provision at all in the constitution, respecting the canal pledge, than to insert that of the gentleman from Erie, (Mr. Russell.) This fund was pledged to those who made the loan. Pass this'amendment, and it would he paramount to the statute of 1817, and it would release the legislature from that pledge. The people have power undouhtedly to violate that pledge; hut Ihepoieer is one thing, and the moral right is anotlier. A few years ago a local tax was pretended to he imposed on the lands hordering on the canal. He was aware at the time, that it was a more pretence to gild the pill. But every effort since that time, to levy and collect that tax, has heen fruitless and unavailing.
But it is said, that we must rely on the legislature, and that the people will he magnanimous, He was aware that if the pledge was continued, some might feci the weight of its ohligation, hut if the amendment ohtained,it would wholly cease to operate. Some legislators were not much restrained hy pledges. A steam hoat tax was once levied and pledged for this purpose, hut a suhsequent legislature, under the shield of modification, reduced it to $5000, and magnanimously appropriated Grand Island to supply the deficiency. The pledge of 1817 had not, therefore, remained inviolate, hut it was not entirely gone, and he wished to save the remainder hy a constitutional provision. Suppose no such provision should he made. What will he the consequence? A new census will shortly he taken and a new apportionment made, when your northern and western canals, and your lateral cuts, will cut in upon two-thirds of the legislature, and rote down the tolls and duties all together. Your legislature has already voted away and got rid of your lands, and we are told, on this floor, that if we require them to pay their dehts, the western country will he in arms, lfthishethe case, it is hest to try the experiment soon. Hereules is yet young, and may he hound. The lion of the west, of whom we have often heard, is yet a whelp, not full grown; Ictus then, endeavour to curh his ferocious power hefore he tears us in pieces. From five to ten millions of dollars are fastened upon us already, from which there is no escaping. The farms of all the good people of Delaware are mortgaged for the payment, when, at the same time, they derive not the least possihle henefit from it. They have then, a right to demand, that the inducements that were held out, and the faith that was solemnly pledged, should he redeemed hy an irrevocahle provision in the constitution. Good faith requires it. Common honesty requires it. It was the right of his constituents to demand it.
Mr. R. entertained no jealousy of his western hrethren. As individuals, he would repose in them with a secure and unsuspecting confidence. But as a puhlic hody—in a collective capacity, it was as unreasonahle to ask, as it was foolith to expect, the performance of those promises which individual justice would scorn to violate. The fahh of puhlic hodies is well understood; and the same man, who, as an individual, would shrink from every act that savoured of injustice, would ofte«, in a puhlic capacity, he guilty of violations of duty that were wholly irreconcileahle with justice and duty. They would pocket private honesty, and adopt political expediency.
Mr. R. proceeded to investigate the progress of the ranal—the pretences that had heen made use of—the policy that had heen resorted to—the inducements that had heen held out—the direct promises and pledges that had heen made, untilat.Iast it hecame a hohhy so very alluring, that the only anxiety